POWAY, Calif. (KGTV) - Hundreds of supporters turned out Tuesday for the dedication of an 11-foot-high statue in Poway honoring Hall of Fame baseball player Tony Gwynn, on what would have been his 57th birthday.
"He did a fantastic job, even down to the knuckles," Alicia Gwynn said of the artist who sculpted her late husband. "I was looking at Tony's hands; he got it right."
Later she told 10News, "I know Tony's looking down on us, smiling."
The statue depicts Gwynn in uniform, holding his daughter as he's waving to a crowd.
"It's actually a picture of me and my father at spring training when I was younger," Anisha Gwynn-Jones said. "My dad was always a family guy, so with all the hoopla of spring training and all that, he always took time out for us to come on the field and spend time with him."
She told the crowd, "The Gwynn family is not easy to be part of... with so many high achievers. My dad was always the person who reassured me who I am and where I came from so that is what this monument represents for me."
Gwynn, who died nearly three years ago of cancer, played with the Padres for 20 seasons while he lived with his family in Poway.
"I think he's just appreciative," Tony Gwynn Jr. said of his father's expression in the sculpture. "Whatever that moment came from, I think he's appreciative of the fans, the people he loves, just of being able to show his gratitude to everybody."
He also reflected on memories of his dad watching him on the field of play.
"Seeing him up in the bleachers; taping every basketball game. The only time he got to see me play because once the baseball season came around; he was doing his job, playing for the Pads."
Poway residents, baseball fans and businesses donated more than $190,000 for the bronze artwork, while 15 companies donated materials and labor valued at $108,000 to construct the memorial plaza itself, according to the city of Poway.
The statue arrived in Monday after a 1,350-mile journey from Texas.